Well, Commissioner Goodell has now handed down his punishment on Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who will now be referred to as Belicheat by just about every blog, newspaper, and magazine this side of the Berkshires. You can also expect well-respected coaches like Tony Dungy to offer a stinging criticisms of Cheatin' Bill and the "Patriots Way" of winning. You can also expect more articles like Dr. Z's SI article (tip to BSanders37) detailing numerous incidents involving the Patriots and the suspicion of cheating. And finally, even after Goodell's verdict, a lashing from the press, a scolding from his peers, and the score of fans that will indeed show up to Patriots games with signs that reader "CHEATER!" on them, Bill and his boys can expect to see entertainment like this (tip to metalmilita) on a regular basis:
The guy who made the video (Ryan Parker) above is also the guy who sang that "Who Dey" song with, I believe, his daughter on MNF this past Monday. He makes some funny tunes. The Why the Cowboys Stink tune is catchy as well.
I know people here agree with Bob Kravtiz at the Star, that a suspension was warranted given that Belichick was warned numerous times to not do this kind of thing, and yet did it anyway. Think about that for a second. People are acutally AGREEING with Kravtiz. Amazing. Kravtiz's point: Pacman Jones was warned; Michael Vick was warned; Tank Johnson was warned. They all got suspended. Belicheat didn't. It's a fair criticism of Goodell's verdict. I personally think the verdict was fair. I'm backing off my earlier stance that the Jets game should be forfeited. There just isn't enough evidence to suggest the cheating influenced the game. The one thing I will remind people of is the NFL is not finished investigating Belichick and the Patriots on these matters. Bill was fined and the Patriots docked draft picks because they were caught this past Sunday. If more evidence emerges that this was done during their Super Bowl runs, or if the Patriots are arrogant enough to try this again (which you can bet they will), then you'll see Cheatin' Bill get the Pacman Jones treatment.
The real damage done is to the Patriots' legacy. It is indeed tarnished. Likewise, this season is tarnished for them. Now, when Pats fans flaunt that "three rings" crap, people like us can say "cheater," and it basically shuts them up. It's hard to act cocky and brash when your team is a festering cesspool of cheaters. Adding to this is Belicheat's silly and pathetic explanation for his actions. Read this excerpt from his press statement after he lightened his wallet by $500,000 cost his own team drafts picks:
Part of my job as head coach is to ensure that our football operations are conducted in compliance of the league rules and all accepted interpretations of them. My interpretation of a rule in the Constitution and Bylaws was incorrect.
The bottom line with all this is Belicheat has been exposed for the fraud we all thought he was. I used to have a lot of respect for the guy. I hate his guts as a person. I think he sells out his players (Ted Johnson) and he'd sell his soul to win a friggin' football game, but I never questioned his abilities as a coach. Now, I do. If you need to cheat to win, you aren't that good of a coach. And if the cheating wasn't a contributing factor into the Patriots winning, then why do it? Why take the chance?
The Patriots will likely use this fiasco as motivation. They'll play the disrespect card, and you can fully expect Rodney "Dangerfield" Harrison to mouth off on league disrespect after he comes backing from his own punishment for cheating. They'll now say that they need to win to prove that the video taping had nothing to do with them winning or losing. Again, if it had nothing to do with winning or losing, why did they do it?
That's a question that can't be answered. For us Colts fans, we should take a moment to appreciate the kind of people that run our team. Guys like Tony Dungy, Bill Polian, and Jim Irsay are well respected men known for their integrity and their winning ways. Unlike Bill Belichick, they don't need to cheat to win. Still, if allegations of cheating were proven against Dungy or any of them, you can expect the same punishment against others that was laid on Belicheat. Cheating is intolerable. No matter the situation, no matter the sport. Anyone who tolerates cheating is a petty, silly little person who can be easily dismissed and slapped around (both figuratively and literally). I'm now tired of writing about cheaters. This summer has been full of them, from Belicheat, to Cheatin' Bonds, to HGH Ankiel. I'm just sick of all the damn cheating.
Can we talk about Sunday's game now?